I've been using a leather-backed phone for the better part of a year, now that I think about it. The 2014 Moto X started it all, with its Horween leather options. (And how could I not user a leather phone, right?) Plastic and metal are boring. Anyone can use those. Leather's just different. So when LG started teasing leather options on the LG G4, I knew what I'd be using.
But all leather is not created equal. And from the get-go we knew that what we had in the Moto X would not be the same as what we had in the G4. And that's not a deal-breaker by any means. Those are two very different phones. The G4 has as removable back and a number of leather options. So I figured at some point I'd be swapping things out. It was a matter of when, not if.
Two months. Not even two months, actually. That's how long it took me to spend too much money on a replacement leather back for the LG G4.
I expect some wear and tear on a leather back. But I'm not sure how often I'm going to want to shell out $70 for a new one.
Replacement leather backs — pink, yellow, blue, red or orange — run $69 retail, and that's what I paid on Amazon. I'd started with the T-Mobile orange, which really is brown. Like most folks in our forums, I've got a lot of wear on the corners of the leather. But recently the edges have gotten worse.
This time? something different. I went red. But it's definitely more maroon than red. Cameras tend to bring out the red more — and you can certainly get the red to show through if you light it well, but most of the time it's going to look be a really dark reddish-brown. I like it. It looks nice.
But I can't help but look at the G4 on my desk, sitting next to the depleted Moto X, and remember that one of these phones is nearly a year old. The other just two months. Am I going to be buying a new leather back every 60 days? Even if it's every 90 days, that's adding nearly another $300 to the cost of the phone over the span of a year. Maybe it's worth it. Maybe I need to do like others have done and put a case on top of the leather. (Which I'm absolutely not going to do.)
LG's leather feels thinner, and the edges are exposed. Motorola's feels thicker, and it's ringed by the metal edge of the phone. My Moto X has some beauty marks, for sure. It's got depressions. It's a lot darker than it was 10 months ago. But it's also looking like a beach tourist after too many hours in the sun. Nothing's peeling away. The pictures here don't quite do it justice. My G4 just didn't look as premium (and that's a word I've never quite liked just throwing around) as it did before.
I don't quite feel like I have a brand-new phone — the software sees to that — but it's close. I'm more likely to pull the phone out of my pocket and leave it in plain sight. The real question is how many more times I'm going to want to head to my wallet to make the G4 look that way.